I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Monday, April 6, 2009

National School Boards Association Convention San Diego 2009 Day 3

The NSBA convention continues today, and I have already attended two break-out sessions on the following topics:

1. Strategies for effective collective bargaining agreements in tough economic times

2. Status Update on current policy nationwide with respect to No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

(these two sessions were facilitated by attorneys from the California based law firm Fagen, Friedman, & Fulfrost. This firm specializes in school law and represents over 200 school districts throughout California.)

The PowerPoint presentations used in the above two workshops will be posted at the firm's website in the next few days at:

and/or they will be available (along with many of the other session handouts and guides) at the NSBA conference website online:

After I attended these first two sessions, I attended the general session where the featured keynote speaker was Academy Award and Golden Globe Award winning Film/Stage legend Julie Andrews. I was interested to hear her speak, and she expressed a deep and passionate support for literacy and the arts in schools, particularly the theater arts. She also had the crowd riveted with her explanation of the "three biggest breaks" she had in her professional life:

1. Joining the cast of a London musical at age 12.
2. Being invited to star on a Broadway Play in New York at age 18
3. Being personally recruited by Walt Disney to star in Mary Poppins

Mrs. Andrews gave a captivating and memorable 35 minute speech on her upbringing, background and major accomplishments. As you can imagine, she was extremely classy and an excellent speaker!

The rest of today's conference will consist of my attending 3 more break-out workshops on the following topics:

1. Tapping the potential of Higher Education Partnerships (dove-tails with our Escambia County partnership with UWF on a Lab School)

4. Using "Google" advanced features as a free educational resource to find anything at all on the web.

(This session will be hosted by Jim Spellos, a certified Microsoft Office Specialist [MOS].) this session will clearly illustrate how to:

1. Understand the 7 critical techniques of effective web searching
2. Identify 10 Google tools beyond the search bar
3. Recognize how results are returned from a web search
4. Create a custom Google homepage and search engine

3. The final session I'll be attending today will be a "Lessons Learned" presentation from Osseo, Minnesota, public schools on how that board dealt with community Angst over closing and re-purposing several schools.

(I'm looking forward to this presentation--as it is timely considering what the Escambia County School Board is doing with the west-side facilities and Carver Century. I'm also interested in this session because I know our district may be dealing with a re-purposing of one of our middle schools in the very near future if that facility does not drammatically improve soon)

The conference winds up tomorrow with a half-day session. This conference has been, as I expected, a tremendous learning opportunity. I have met and had conversations with more than 15 board members from 9 different states--and I've had the opportunity to discuss issues that affect all of our districts; I've been able to hear some of the effective techniques other districts are using/have used to tackle some of the same issues that we in Escambia County are facing.


Anonymous said...

How could I listen to Julie Andrews speech?
You can email me at

Jeff Bergosh said...


I listened to the speech, but I did not tape or record it. I also see it is not on the NSBA site, but I would recommend that you look at the NSBA website over the next few days to see if they will post it there. Or you could check Youtube to see if someone posts it there. It was a good speech.